BY JOE MARVILLI
If you are a senior and you need help navigating the ins and outs of the City’s rent increase exclusion program, you will soon be in luck.
Assembly woman Catherine Nolan (D-Sunnyside) announced on Monday that her district office will hold Saturday
hours to help residents apply for the Senior Citizen Rent Increase Exemption program, also known as SCRIE. The office hours will start on July 19 and go from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
This program is meant to help seniors with limited income, who may not be able to financially keep up with rent hikes. Those who qualify for SCRIE can have their rent frozen so they do not have to pay most rent increases.
This year, the SCRIE program underwent some changes that greatly expanded the number of people who qualify for it. It received its first income cap increase since 2009, bumping the threshold for seniors to an annual household income of $50,000 or less. This is a significant increase from the previous limit of $29,000. The change went into effect on July 1, so only those residents who apply on or after that day get the new $50,000 window.
Besides the financial limit, seniors who qualify for SCRIE must also be at least 62 years old, must rent an apartment that is rent controlled, rent stabilized or hotel stabilized and must pay a rent that costs more than one-third of their household income. Seniors who recently lost their SCRIE coverage because their income amount went above $29,000 will not have it automatically restored. They will have to reapply as a new applicant.
Since I’ve been doing this job, I’ve had so many people that walked away and said ‘I can’t believe it, why can’t I get it’ and people are so close to that $29,000.” – State Sen. Toby Stavisky
SCRIE was first established in 1970 to protect seniors from rent increases in rent-controlled apartments. Six years later, it expanded to residents that live in some rental or co-op apartments, or Mitchell-Lama as it is referred to today.According to State Sen. Toby Stavisky (D-Flushing), the increase will make about 10,000 more seniors eligible for SCRIE.
“Since I’ve been doing this job, I’ve had so many people that walked away and said ‘I can’t believe it, why can’t I get it’ and people are so close to that $29,000,” Stavisky said.
The senator added that the increase to SCRIE came from extra funding available in this year’s budget. The new cap will last until 2016, when the next budget will be worked on.
On July 9, Stavisky and Councilman Peter Koo (D-Flushing) visited the Nan Shan Senior Center in Flushing to distribute and explain the benefits of not only SCRIE, but also Elderly Pharmaceutical Insurance Coverage. The latter is a New York State program that helps seniors aged 65 and over to supplement their out-of-pocket Medicare Part D drug plan costs.
To receive assistance on SCRIE applications from Nolan’s office, it is located at 41-02 Queens Blvd., Suite 2B, Sunnyside. You can also call the office at (718) 784-3194. For more information about SCRIE in general, visit www.nyc.gov/html/dof/html/home/home.shtml or call 311. You can also call your local elected official for further assistance.
Reach Joe Marvilli at (718) 357-7400, Ext. 125, firstname.lastname@example.org, or @JoeMarvilli.